Unlike a lot of rookies, wide receivers can have an immediate impact on an NFL team – just ask Kenny Stills.
Stills was a fifth round pick and he payed dividends for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints’ offense, totaling nearly 700 receiving yards and five touchdowns. But with the potential departure of veteran Lance Moore and Robert Meachem headed to free agency, the time is now for the Saints to scoop up yet another young wide receiver.
This year’s class is a talented group, and today cover32 released our top-10 rankings for incoming wideouts.
The guy that jumps out to me doesn’t even make the top-5, which I find ridiculous.
Kelvin Benjamin won the BCS National Championship game for Florida State by jumping out of the gym to high-point a throw by famous Jameis Winston, and he has skills that should translate perfectly to the NFL. You can’t teach size, and he has plenty of it – topping out at six-foot-five and nearly 240 lbs. He exploded in the 2013 season for over 1,000 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns, becoming the Heisman-winner Winston’s favorite target. Of course we’ll have to see how he runs at the combine (or pro day), and although he may not outrun everybody on the go-routes his long strides and smooth gait make for sneaky acceleration.
What is most impressive about Benjamin was on display on that championship-winning catch: his ball skills. It’s rare to see a guy as big as Benjamin be able to control his body with the grace and precision he does, and his big hands and natural catching abilities make it seem like you can’t possibly overthrow him.
Benjamin comes in at number six on our rankings, which in my humble opinion is impossibly low. If he makes it out of the second round … I’ll be surprised.
If Benjamin is taken off the board before the Saints get a crack at him, another guy that should be on their radar is Penn State’s Allen Robinson.
Robinson is another big-body receiver at six-foot-three and 210 lbs, and although he’s a bit smaller than Benjamin he is even more physical. At the line of scrimmage Robinson routinely blew up corner backs attempting to press him, and at the point of the catch he’s second to no one in having the strength to come down with the ball.
The one thing that stands out for Robinson is his propensity towards the big moment. He routinely came up big in the clutch, including his miraculous 33-yard reception to set up the game-winning touchdown run in overtime against Michigan in Happy Valley.
Robinson’s tangibles will probably grade out to a middle-to-late round selection, but what he brings to the table outside of what can be measured will make him a contributor at the NFL level. In fact, he could be New Orleans next Marques Colston.
To find out who made the grade in cover32’s top-10 rookie wide receiver prospects list, click here.